For the first time in my life that I can recall, I am finding myself in an odd position. I have absolutely no idea what comes next on my journey, nor any plans for how to get to what I feel should be the next phase of my life.
I am a recovering busy-aholic.
For most of my adult life I have found my worth and my identity in all the activities I took part in. This is in all the aspects of my life – personal, professional and spiritual. Any changes in any of these areas, regardless of how small they were, caused major upsets in my world.
This way of perceiving myself and the world around me and qualifying myself by constantly doing was exhausting. It also didn’t ever leave me feeling very satisfied with myself or my circumstances or my life in general.
At the end of the day I still just wanted more. More time, more financial means, more friendships. Just more of all of the good things in life I guess. Determined to achieve more and be more so that I could have more rewards from both the world of men and from God.
The funny thing about this perspective is that I tried so hard to take care of everything and everyone around me that I forgot to take care of me or my personal relationship with God! No wonder I couldn’t find any peace, joy, or satisfaction.
Fortunately, in spite of myself, by the grace of God, I was able to realize just how dysfunctional my sense of self-worth was. My worth can’t be found among earthly people or pursuits or even within myself.
My worth comes from Yahweh — God who is always with me.
Having been taught this lesson by our very patient God where does that leave me?
I am now in a holding pattern. I do not know what is coming next for me or where my next calling lies. For the first time ever I have no idea what comes next. There are no plans for how to get to the next place. I am just being still and trying to be content in my Sabbath rest:
So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter Gods’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs. – Hebrews 4:9-11 (NRSV)
Rest – sounds so easy! However, it has been a struggle for me. For someone so used to being busy, stepping back from committees and other commitments without having new ones lined up has been incredibly hard. Still this is what the Father has for me at this time in my life. Stepping back, letting go of settling for just good, while waiting to see what God has in store for me. Taking time to just be and breathe.
As I have laid aside my studies, readings, and writing to just take time to rest my mind and commune with the Maker of my soul there have been little voices attempting to break my peace and joy. Even on sabbatical rest the Enemy’s little darts still try to zing me.
Thoughts flood my mind of things I SHOULD be doing as I sit relaxing on the back deck watching the birds in the yard. Thoughts of how lazy I am because I am not touching the pile of books that are on my end table patiently waiting to be read. Thoughts of being a failure as a writer because I can’t seem to find inspiration for blog posts at the moment.
I have discovered that being not busy is EXACTLY what I am supposed to be doing right now. If I were not being obedient in this then there would be no attacks, but the enemy has been working over time to wreck my peace. It has been a constant temptation for me to jump into something, anything, just to make myself busy.
And it is during these times of temptation that I feel stressed and frantic. When I tell those voices in my head to quiet down and allow me to rest, my peace returns. I chose to ask God in humility and obedience to help me find the strength to continue to be resting in him rather than finding busyness that distracts me from him.
And little by little, small tasks are being sent my way again. He is now leading me to continue to rest, but to also spend this time learning in preparation of things to come. There are books that are now being read and studied, blog posts that are starting to come together one piece at a time, and opportunities to spread my wings and step out of my comfort zone to try preaching the Sunday morning message again in the near future.
Beyond these small things, He still hasn’t revealed what comes next on the journey for me. I am content to learn the small lessons as he teaches them to me.
Sabbath rest is vital to a healthy personal relationship with God. Make the time to engage in just being in his presence. Rest in his arms as he prepares you to take up his yoke once more.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NSRV)